Two jailed for string of robberies in south England

TWO Romanian robbers who were part of an organised crime gang which targeted the elderly and infirm across the south have both been jailed for six years.

Ioan Hutup, 30, of Rowley Garden, North London, and Elena Batan, 38, of Dock Road, Barking, had previously pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.

The offences took place between February and November last year in Bedfordshire, Sussex, Buckinghamshire and Surrey.

On June 15 at Luton Crown Court it was revealed the pair had followed people at supermarket checkouts, recorded their pin numbers then followed them to their home address where a distraction burglary – usually involving asking for directions – was committed. The pair then used the pin numbers which they had noted earlier to withdraw cash and buy luxury items on the card before it was cancelled.

On September 20, last year, the pair tried to steal £1,000 from an 80-year-old man in Worthing, having previously seen him withdraw the cash from a bank. They followed the victim onto a bus and then tried to rob him as he entered his home address but they escaped with only a worthless receipt.

Earlier, in February in Luton, after a 57-year-old female victim had been at a Tesco cashpoint she was asked for directions to Manchester by Hutup who then produced a map. As the victim assisted, her purse was stolen and £500 was withdrawn from her account while £1,110 worth of goods were purchased

On October 4, a 91-year-old man was the victim of a distraction burglary at his home in Buckinghamshire. He had earlier been to a Tesco store where Hutup and Batan saw his pin number at the till and then helped the man load his shopping into his mobility scooter. Later in the day, they called at his house asking for directions to London. The victim let them in, but while getting them both a drink of water, his bank card was stolen. The pair withdrew £300 in cash and bought £222.74 worth of fragrances before the card was reported stolen.